I was in tenth standard. My best friend was Lahiri. Both of us came from middle class backgrounds. His father was a clerk in the public works departments, while his mother was a housewife. Both of us were the only children of our respective parents.
Those were the days when everybody around asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I would say that I want to become a doctor. Inwardly I wanted to be a supermodel. I hadn’t shared this aim of mine with anyone.
One day after our examinations I asked Lahiri. “What is your aim in life?”
“I want to migrate to Australia. I want to stay there pemanently. I want to settle there.”
“Do you know any one there?” I asked him.
“No. But I read about it in a magazine. Since that day I want to go to Australia.” His face glowed every time he spoke about Australia.
“What is your aim in life?” He asked me.
“I want to be a supermodel like Milind Soman.” I replied. That was the time when I shared my dream with some one for the first and last time.
After a few years
Both of us completed our graduation in the year 2003. I started working with a firm in Hyderabad and he found a job at a call centre in Pune. I did not become a model. Nor did he migrate to Australia. After a few years both of us got married. While my marriage doomed, Lahiri found a good wife.
Lahiri’s father retired from service. He settled at their native place Satara. While Lahiri and his wife lived in Pune. Lahiri bought a flat in Pune, with the help of bank loan and a little financial help of his father. He switched his job too. Now he was working with the City bank. He brought a brand new Maruti Alto car. Soon he became father too. He was blessed with a cute son. I too had found a good job. I wasn’t interested in buying a car. I wanted to buy a house in Hyderabad. But its price was out of my reach.
You may say both of us had settled in our lives. Maturity that came with age and responsibilities, had killed our teenage dreams. I never thought about being a supermodel again. I don’t think Lahiri thought of Australia too.
In the year 2015
Both of us had crossed our thirties. We stayed in different cities. We met once in two-three years. But still I considered him to be my best friend. We were in touch through the social media and occasional phone calls.
Somewhere in March I received an email from Lahiri stating that he was going to Australia. I immediately called him and told that I was very happy for him. I was happy that he had finally realised his dream.
“Is City bank sending you to Australia?” I asked him.
“No I resigned. I am serving the notice period.” He told me.
“So now you will be joining which company?” I asked him.
“Actually I don’t know.” He told me.
“What?” I asked.
“I will be going to Australia and then I will search a job there.” He replied.
I was very happy that my friend was going to his dream destination. I was very happy that he had realized his childhood fantasy. But what made me happier was that he had the balls to follow his dreams. He had a job, a house, a car, a beautiful wife and a cute child. He put them all at peril and chased his dream. Some may feel that his act was hugely irresponsible. Now that he had a wife and a child, he should have stuck to his well paying job in City bank and migrated to Australia only when he had a secure job in his hand. Going there and then searching a job was an utterly foolish plan. But I feel those who criticized him were jealous of him. For he had the guts to chase his dreams, which his critics didn’t have. He had the courage to pay a price for chasing his dreams, which his critics lacked.
I supported my friend wholeheartedly. Within a week he got his visa. He had promised me that he would come to visit me before he left India. However the last minute preparations didn’t give him time to come to Hyderabad and meet me. Even my tight work schedule didn’t permit me to go to Pune and meet him. In April 2015, Lahiri was in Australia. His dream country. He shared an accommodation in Melbourne with a friend’s cousin’s friend’s friend. To save money he stayed on a diet of bread and milk for a few weeks. He appeared for various job interviews. In spite of being in a financial crunch he would call me and share his experiences. I too was excited to learn his experiences in an alien nation. I asked him to pen down his experiences.
Over the next call he told me that he had found a well paying job and a house too. He informed me that unlike India, in Australia the rented houses were well furnished. They had gas, washing machine, refrigerator, dishwasher and utensils too. He was required to move in with just his bag of clothes. He moved to his rented house. Soon his wife and son joined him too.
Lahiri, you have truly inspired me in the year 2015. You have had the courage to follow your dream. You made me think over what I really want from my life. You taught me that any risk which you take for the sake of your dream is worth it. You stirred me inside and made me ponder to follow the true calling of my life. I am working towards my dreams too. I am ready to follow my dreams, in spite of what others have to say about it. I am willing to make sacrifices and pay a price for my inner calling. You made me feel happy about myself. You made me respect my dream. You made me love life. #spreadthevibe